Monday, June 23, 2008
Comedy of Errors
Old Vaudeville broke out on the field at New Nationals Park in the 8th inning tonight. Slap Stick Comedy performed so well--A Tony Award might well be awarded for it's hilarity. Unfortunately, Our Washington Nationals were playing a team that calls Hollywood one of it's homes. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are more familiar with Oscars, not Broadway. The resultant award slapped on Our Washington Nationals this evening was just another defeat in the loss column.
You see this was no act.
Instead what played out on the big stage of The Major League Baseball Field was Our Players seeming inability to handle the routine play. Practiced precision directed poorly. Mistakes that would exasperate any director.
You had to feel sorry for Jason Bergmann tonight. He pitched a solid seven innings. Wasted.
You had to feel sorry for Willie Harris tonight. A Home Run & Triple. The igniter on offense. The scorer of Washington's two runs against The Angels. Both wasted.
You had to feel sorry for Our Fans. Having waited out a 70 minute rain delay--they were left holding their tickets to an uncompleted play.
Resetting the scene.
Washington had fought back to take a slim 2-1 lead to the top of the 8th. And Our Manager Manny Acta called on Saul Rivera to get this game into the hands of Big Jon Rauch to close it out. A curtain call that never came for Washington thanks to some very sloppy performances.
Comedy Act Number One: Facing the speedy Chone Figgins leading off the top half of the 8th--Rivera got The Los Angeles Leadoff Hitter to tap a slow roller between the mound and third base--slightly in front of the mound. Late Defensive replacement--Pete Orr--came charging in from third base. Saul from the mound. This was Orr's play all the way. Can you image ANY PLAYER for Our Washington Nationals not conceding this effort to Ryan Zimmerman under the same circumstances? It was questionable whether the speedy Figgins could have been thrown out at all. But when Our Number 52 did not give up on the rolling ball--he collided with Orr looking to barehand the baseball. Both players falling hard in a heap on the grass. Shaken, but not stirred--Saul slowly got up off the ground--and continued in this game.
Comedy Act Number Two: On Rivera's very next pitch--Figgins took off for second base in an attempted steal. Our Catcher Jesus Flores sailed the baseball on flight into centerfield. Chone to third with nobody out. The restless crowd now murmuring.
Comedy Act Number Three: With Washington looking to protect the lead, Our Infield is now playing in. Erick Aybar is now at the plate for The Angels. Saul induces a perfectly played routine grounder to FLop in on the grass. A sure out. Only to see Felipe Lopez Completely Miss The Ball--pulling his head up to look over at Figgins prancing off third--the baseball scooting right under his glove into right field. A play most any fielder will make in his sleep that allowed the tying run to score unprotected. And set off the boo birds at New Nationals Park. The audience not liking the performance.
Comedy Act Number Four: With FLop's error still fresh and the play not yet over, Elijah Dukes reacts late to the now rolling baseball on the wet outfield grass. Seeing the play develop in front of him, Aybar does not stop running--rounding first and charges toward 2nd base. Dukes finally picks up the baseball--having time to make a good, hard throw. Instead he tossed the baseball back to "The Guz" UNDERHANDED. UNDERHANDED!! The ball lofting well over Cristian Guzman's head--rolling toward third base. Erick Aybar easily safe at second.
Honestly, you had to laugh at the performance. The sounds of the upset audience during these ever continuing comedy of errors--now escalating to crescendo level. People were upset and Rightfully so.
Cat Calls which only became worse when Garret Anderson sliced a liner to centerfield off Our Number 52 scoring Aybar with the third and final run of this evening. In the time than it takes to throw 12 pitches--Our Washington Nationals had blown a lead, soured a fine performance and given away any chance of victory tonight over a very good Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Team.
Acting as Baseball Players, direction had been lost. The Play Amateurish. The Outcome Funny--In A Bad Sort Of Way.
Producing a comedy of errors in the game deciding 8th inning, Our Washington Nationals blew a winnable game this evening at New Nationals Park. Their reward, not only a loss, but the sight of The Angels celebrating a victory on Washington's Home Stage. The Curtain now falling on a performance no one rooting for Washington wanted to see.
Final Score from Wet & Comfortably Cool New Nationals Park--The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3 and Our Washington Nationals 2.
Game Notes & Highlights
Jason Bergmann pitch a fine ball game. Seven strong innings, six strike outs, one run allowed. And that run came after he deftly shutdown a 2nd and 3rd no outs rally by The Angels in the top of the fifth. A run scoring sacrifice fly the only damage against Our Number 57 all night. He deserved so much better--like a victory. Saul Rivera nowhere near as sharp as his three inning performance last Friday night against The Rangers. Our Number 52 not only received a blown save, but the loss this evening.
Willie Harris was a one man offense tonight for Washington. He HAMMERED a John Lackey Pitch deep over the right centerfield wall in the bottom of the 4th. His second home run in consecutive days. His 4th Home Run of 2008 (three more than Wily Mo Pena). Then, in the bottom of the 7th--Our Number 1 hammered another Lackey pitch to right center--this to the wall. The speedy Harris ran hard all the way--easily stopping at third base with a triple. A crowd pleasing jaunt that got even better when Pinch Hitter Paul LoDuca lines a screamer right back to the box. John Lackey--reacting only--makes a nice catch. Only to blow open the play by attempting an off balance throw over to Aybar at third base in an attempt to double off Willie Harris. Bad mistake, poor decision--that found Lackey tossing the baseball past Aybar. The fast moving Harris charging home--safe for Washington's 2nd and eventual final run of the night.
To bad--Harris couldn't do it all tonight. In the bottom of the 9th, with Ronnie Belliard on 2nd base with two outs--Our Number 1 was attempting to work the count against The Great Francisco Rodriguez--The Angels Closer. K-Rod was not overly sharp and was bouncing many of his pitches in the dirt in front of home plate. Just when you thought Washington might come back one final time--Rodriguez didn't give in and struck out Willie Harris on an off speed pitch in over his knees. Game Over.
Speaking of K-Rod, I had never seen him pitch before in person. His intensity level is quite energetic. From the moment he receives the baseball in his mitt--he's appears to be talking to himself, encouraging himself and just plain getting himself psyched up. So much so--he was overthrowing early on in the bottom of the 9th, then settled down for his 31st Save of 2008. 31 Saves and the season is not even HALF WAY OVER!! What A Pitcher!! That man is good.
Just like most of The Angels starting lineup. Their first seven hitters are all really good. And Vladamir Guerrero is still a GREAT, GREAT PLAYER. The only man out there today that could hit a pitch well off the plate, up around his neck, maybe even bouncing five times and wallop it all over the park. One of the best pure hitters to ever play this game. As many of you know--he was THE MONTREAL EXPOS, their star, before they became Our Washington Nationals. Still, it was pleasure to see him perform again tonight and for the next two games to follow. I just love the guy.
The Angels John Lackey--a quality starter. Effective, but not overpowering. Lackey just pitches with confidence. And has the ability to throw all his pitches for strikes. One of these days--Our Washington Nationals are going to have just such a Number One Starter.
Teddy & GW got revenge of Abe for knocking Teddy down during the Presidents Race yesterday. As The Rushmores ran out of the centerfield gate--GW & Teddy proceeded to kick, beat and stomp Abe to the ground--while Tom ran untouched all the way to The Finish Line for the victory during the middle of the 4th inning race.
Finally, how about that RAINBOW over New Nationals Park after the rains went away!! From Club Level you could see all the colors vividly running from The South Capitol Street Bridge over the ballpark to the northeast. A GORGEOUS SIGHT. Everyone was talking about it.
Tonight's InGame Photos--(AP) Nick Wass